How to Write a Product Review

If you promote products as an affiliate, you're going to love this post. I'm going to spill my secrets on how to write a product review that makes sales.

Product Reviews are responsible for the majority of my affiliate sales, and not just on the day that I write a product review. They get ranked in the major search engines and continue to make sales for years!

Here are some consumer survey stats* to whet your appetite:

  • 83% of consumers say that product reviews influence their online purchasing decisions
  • 70% of online shoppers actively seek out product reviews before they buy
  • More than half of US online shoppers surveyed, read user reviews as part of their product research
  • Nearly 9 of 10 US online buyers read reviews at least "some of the time" before making a purchase

Ready to learn how to write a product review that actually puts people in the buying mood? Great! Read on...

There are 7 elements that go into a great product review:

  • Image/Video
  • Product Description
  • Buyer Description
  • Proof
  • Negatives
  • Call-to-Action
  • Keyword Phrase

Keep in mind that it's the merchants job to sell the product. Your job as an affiliate is to pre-sell the product. A good product review will assist the visitor with their buying decision so that they buy the right product, and feel good about doing it.

You may choose to frame your product review around the visitors needs or wants, or you may choose to frame it specifically around the product you are reviewing. Either way, here is a description of each of the 7 elements you should include in your review complete with examples from some of my own reviews:

Product Image/Video

Opportunity.com ReviewAlways include an image and/or video of the product or service that you are reviewing. This helps your visitor visually connect your review with the product or need that they are researching, and draws them into your content.

You can take a photo of the product yourself, use an image from the merchant's website, take a screenshot of the website, or use a picture of you using the product. Depending on the product, you might also include before & after pictures.

Video options include: screencasting for digital products: ordering/using/results, unboxing of physical products, or an explanation of the product (talking head video).

Product Description

Describe the product in detail: size, number of pages, features, ordering process, delivery/package details, benefits, expected results, your specific results.

People are wary of scams, and of the actual value of a product. They want to know exactly what they'll get if they order this product today.

Include your personal thoughts and personal experience about the product or the decision to order the product. This helps your reader relate throughout the review, as they are now in the position that you were when you purchased that same product.

Example: TS2 is completely new. For those of you that have the original Traffic Secrets course on your bookshelf (here’s mine) - you’ll be getting a completely different course when you order TS2. It’s not just an updated or edited version, but contains brand new up-to-date marketing strategies and ideas. Traffic Secrets 2.0 Review

Buyer Description

Who is this product for? Who is this product NOT for? No one product is a fit for everyone (that's why we have an entire wall of toothpaste to choose from at the store!) so don't frame it that way. Be sure to describe the ideal buyer in a way that your reader can easily decide if this is the right product for them - or not.

The point of a product review is to make sure the right people buy the right product.

Example: If you are anxious to set up your first blog, but get frustrated with all the technical stuff… this course is for you. If you already have a blog and have no problem customizing it yourself, or learning the code on your own… this course is not for you. Beginning Blogger Review

Tip: If there are two similar products, you might include an alternate recommendation for people who need "xyz" instead...

Proof

There are two types of proof to include in your product review. Proof that you actually reviewed the product, and proof that the product works.

People are skeptical of product reviews and believe that product review sites are biased, and that reviews are based on payment or compensation. Your job is to prove that you have the product yourself, and have provided an unbiased review.

Proof can be achieved by using photos or video, by describing the product in more detail than can be found on the merchant's website, mentioning unadvertised bonuses, and by addressing the negatives (see next section).

Example: I sat down tonight to submit my request for StomperNet’s special offer, and I decided to turn on the video camera and let you watch over my shoulder through the order process. StomperNet Review

People are also skeptical of results, so you should include proof on how the product works if possible. This can include images, video or details about your personal results with the product.

Example: It automatically loaded the project into the software so that I could archive it, review it or upload it to the web. Here’s an example of an illustration done with the Livescribe Smartpen... Livescribe Smartpen Review

Negatives

Pointing out any negatives with the product itself, or with the ordering process, will make your review objective - and will dramatically increase the 'believability' of your product review. If you don't mention an obvious negative, it will increase skepticism.

Don't be afraid to tell you readers the negatives! They are probably already thinking it, so this is your opportunity to address those thoughts and help them make an informed decision about making the purchase.

Example 1: The only real downside I’ve found to this gadget is that you have to upload your work to the Livescribe website in order to share it. The flash replay files are proprietary, meaning you cant upload them to other spaces on the web - such as YouTube or your own website.

I found a simple work-around as you can tell by the video above. Livescribe Smartpen Review

Example 2: At this point, the only negative thing I can say about this camera is that it doesnt have a flat bottom like the original (non-HD) RCA Small Wonder. No worries, I have a mini-tripod that I can use, but that does add a level of inconvenience. Isonic Snapbox Review

When addressing the negatives, immediately follow that up with the solution - or with the reason why the negative didn't deter YOU from making the purchase.

Call-to-Action

Don't forget this important element! Your call-to-action tells your reader exactly what they should do next, and it needs to be very specific directions with a smooth transition. For example:

  • Ready? Click here for ordering instructions
  • Get Free Shipping by ordering through Amazon.com
  • Click here to download XYZ
  • Click here to read more consumer reviews on Amazon
  • Get the best deal on ABC by ordering online at XYZ website

Take a look at the landing page you'll be sending visitors to from your product review, and frame your call-to-action in a way that encourages them to click through - and lets them know exactly what to expect when they do.

Keyword Phrase

As always, every piece of content that you create on the internet should be optimized for a specific keyword phrase - and reviews are no different. You may be optimizing your review for the actual product, or you may frame your review around a specific problem or need. Choose your keyword phrase so that you attract the ideal reader.

Examples:
- Starting a Home Business? Read this…
- Membernaire Review: Membership Site Help

It's often easier to rank for the product name + review. For example, my Membernaire Review ranks #2 in Google for "membernaire review". Simply use the product name and add "Review" at the end.

I also (still) rank #1 on Google for "opportunity.com review" and "traffic secrets 2.0 review". This is a great way to continue to make sales on a product, long after the initial buzz or launch phase is over - particularly in the Internet Marketing niche.

Bonus Tip #1 If you share a lot of product reviews on your site or blog, make it a point to talk about what NOT to buy. Don't be afraid to write negative reviews now and then. It's important to prove that you are real, and that you can be objective. Your readers will appreciate you for it, and trust your opinion more.

Bonus Tip #2 Need more details for your product review? Go to Yahoo! Answers, or any forum or discussion site/area, and post a query for feedback on your product. This is especially helpful with physical products, such as a certain gas grill or home appliance. At the end of your query include a note that you may use responses anonymously in an upcoming report on the product, and that you'll come back and share the link to that report when it is available.

Learning how to write a product review that engages readers and makes sales is a skill that will improve over time. Take this checklist and write a product review for your site or blog today!

Best,

p.s. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below. You can also join us on my Internet Marketing Forum for questions about affiliate marketing, internet marketing, or setting up your blog or website.

* stats originally provided by Web Pro News, shared with me by Susanne of http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...more»

Discussion

  1. Thanks Mike!

    I'll try writing some reviews as blog posts.

    And re the ebook, that's a great idea. I've been thinking about writing one for some time to use in an adwords campaign to generate traffic and build a subscriber list but I never thought about publishing it with Amazon!

    Thanks again.

  2. Add Some Personality - Don't just mull along, rambling to try to fill up space. Instead, really throw your personality into the review. Try to write the same way you talk

  3. Cindy Brock says:

    I think a lot of this approach somewhat applies when writing a sales page - maybe with a few twists. Since, it's a good flow to follow.

  4. Thank you times 10, Lynn. It's funny how you end up where you need to be if you poke around long enough. I ended up on your blog (excellent, btw) through sugarrae, and I'm so glad I did. Just starting to move into more of a review focus on my blog and was unsure of the best way to formulate the posts. Wa-la! And here I am ..

    Thanks so much for the guidance,
    Scott

  5. Dear Lynn,

    Thanks for this post. I read it in the past and just found it again. Re-reading excellent posts like this helps me fine tune what I'm working on. Each time I re-read one of your posts I learn something else.

  6. Thanks, Lynn for laying out your style of writing high converting product reviews. That stats you provided was insightful.

  7. Wow, thanks Lynn. I cannot believe some of those numbers. 83% of people are influenced by product reviews? That is quite revealing. Thanks a bunch for the info. You have earned a loyal reader in me lol

  8. Lovely introduction to a contemporary computer. The sleek uncluttered design is very appealing. And the combination mouse and touch screen capability adds a lot of functionality. This would be a great computer for those who like to stand while working.

  9. Well I left my comment on the wrong page. I had left the contest page to read about how to write a product review and I still had that computer on my mind. If it's okay with you I will go back to the contest page and post my comment about the computer there.

  10. Hi Lynn. I really struggle with writing. In fact, I think that one thing, fear or discomfort or whatever it is, has held me back more than anything else. So I have been looking for something to help in this area. I just saw you are promoting contentrix. That is an 18 week course. It looks pretty good. Do you think it would help someone who has NO writing experience at all? I really need to get over this bump in my path.

  11. Hi Lynn,
    I am just finishing up my website and pretty much I am reviewing 4 products, that I totally love and believe on them. This posting was perfect, as I was looking for ways of doing that. I have the videos, the proof of me owning them, proof that they work, I had the links to the place they can buy them.. I am alomost done with the reviews, I can use this checklist to see if I am including all (like you say, who is this not for) and now I know how can I put the call to action! Thanks!

  12. Sandy Docherty says:

    I do not have Website,Twitter,Blog, Nothing..........
    I just would like to write a review about a product purchased to let everyone know NOT TO BUY this particular porcelain tile. IT HAS BEEN A NIGHTMARE! I have spent 3,500.00 it looks terrible! I hope you can help me.

  13. Sandy,
    Sorry to hear about your experience. You probably can report the company to the BBB. What they usually do is contact the supplier/contractor and try to get some resolution for you. Also check around your city to see if there is a place you can report them. You can always call your bank and if you used your bankcard, they probably can help you stop the payments. I have been really satisfied with my bank, they have helped several times.
    Hope this helps.

  14. Great article-thank you! I'm trying to move this way on my blog, so this was helpful and easy to understand with realistic info and examples! Thanks again, Lucy

  15. Bookmarked this article ! I have yet to attempt doing a product review as a way to earn a bit of money, although I have plenty of products from which to choose. I often leave short reviews on Amazon after purchasing an item - I like to offer my personal experience to aid others. AND I like to give honest feedback. I can always tell when a review is written just to amp up sales. You offered some great pieces of wisdom.

  16. Hi Lynn,

    Great stuff as usual! Yes, it's imperative to have an honest, real review for any product you want to sell. What's the point of doing all the hard SEO work to get a page or site ranking in the top of Google, only to find it's not profitable because your review stinks and no one will click your links?
    I'm certainly put off by crap-quality review sites that only exist to get you to click their links--and people are internet-savvy enough at this point to smell a large and very stinky rat when they read reviews about how completely, totally and utterly fabulous some new product is--and there's not one word about what's actually in the product or an tiny negative.
    Also never thought about using "websitename + review' as a keyword--good tip! I'll be looking into it. :)

  17. Bill Gassett says:

    Lynn it makes perfect sense to be as descriptive as possible when making a review. I know when I do a search online I want as much information as possible not some quick review that doesn't really analyze in depth.

  18. Cosmin Hora says:

    Being honest in writing the review is the best way for a person to convince others to try the product. It gives that reliability as source of information online if you cite both advantages and disadvantages of a particular product.

  19. Best "how to review a product" article on the net! Thanks

  20. Lynn,
    I am sooo glad that I found this site. I have a few reviews on my site that have some of the elements, but certainly not all of them. For instance the negative or drawbacks is not something I had thought much about. A strong call to action is so important, yet sometimes I think mine are weak as I don't want to seem pushy. Finding that middle ground is so important. I have copied the article as a reminder template for my next review. Thanks for sharing
    Michael Brown

  21. I found this article to be very useful. I am trying to learn all that I can about SEO and affiliate programs as I want to launch my website into an authoritative resource. This is a nice article, clear and well laid out.

  22. Thank you for this amazine post. It is really helpful for newbies to affiliate marketers who are looking to make money with affiliate programs. This includes me.

    By the way, I am really glad I found this article cause I have been searching and googling for this kind of guide.

    Again thank you.

    Alhasan.

  23. I think the key here is being completely honest and forthright. From a user perspective, I'm not likely to trust a review that is too one-sided or obviously fake.

  24. Would you change anything if you were reviewing a physical product instead? I wanted to put in a few amazon books I'm planning to promote using my blog.

  25. I love your advice! I just applied it to one of my product review posts and I can see already it looks better. Thank you!

  26. Thank you for this great "how to." I've been writing book reviews for a year or so now and I'm just now starting to write product reviews. I'm finding that product reviews are rather tricky, thank you for the tips. I do have a question though. Are there any sites where I can post my reviews beside my blog?

    • It's best to publish the review on your own domain/blog as that's where you'll want the traffic. But you can also publish reviews on sites like hubpages, squidoo, ezinearticles, etc. And of course post a link to your review across all of your social media channels - such as twitter, facebook, google+, pinterest, tumblr, etc.
      Lynn Terry recently posted..The 100 Day ChallengeMy Profile

  27. Lynn great post, I love it. Very information, awesome, awesome information. I have been looking for a site that would lay out the foundations for creating a great article and you have done so beautifully. Thank you very much for taking the time to share this knowledge and information with the rest of us.

  28. Hi Lynn! I am preparing my first product review and prior to actually starting to write it I typed \\\"How To Write A Product Review\\\" and discovered you and your article \\\"How To Write A Product Review\\\"! Thank you for preparing and publishing an informative and well-written article! Your article and its 7 points will assist me greatly!

  29. Lynn,

    I have been a reader of yours for a while now as I'm researching ways to make money online. Although I've had my domain name for a while, I have just recently started uploading content and working on getting traffic. This post was so helpful in guiding me through my first review writing. Thank you for being such an inspiration! I will keep reading!

  30. James Template says:

    Great tips. I have just started my new small business website templates services and I have been thinking of inviting genuine reviews from other users. I wanted to give some point of reference for what a review should include. I can now guide them to your article instead.

  31. Stephanie Coleman says:

    Hello Lynn, I have looked and looked for information for writing a product review and your article helped me to finally write my first one. Thank you for having east to follow instructions. I bookmarked you so that I can come back ;)

  32. Thanks Lynn, I found this post very useful and I plan on using these tips in my product reviews from now on. I haven't been very successful with reviews and affiliate marketing so hopefully this will help!
    Steve V recently posted..Eight Great Free WordPress ThemesMy Profile

  33. Thanks so much for this Lynn! I knew I had seen and taken notes on this before (from your site when I was just in the dreaming stages of my website). I will use these 7 Elements to tweak my current product reviews posted to my site(www.productreviewqueen.com) and also to structure them going forward. I guess I had gotten so caught up in the many notes I have on the subject, that I really wasn't paying attention to my main point (whatever that is - in each post/product review). I appreciate you giving it to me straight, so that I can implement with ease. I really appreciate your tools and resources!

    Thanks Again!
    Kendria A. (aka The Product Review Queen)

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